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tv   After Words  CSPAN  July 27, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm EDT

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his mom was not a good mom. no dad. and he overcame all of that and became a u.s. congress and, judge, head of the trademark office, the u.s. trademark is. man of great accomplishment who overcame very tough out ringing. >> joseph farah, as the publisher of the books you publish, what is your reception
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in new york amid some of the larger publishers? >> usually we are right by one of the entrances. eea and a lot of people come by and either give us a secret signal like we agree with you, we like that book about impeaching obama or whatnot. other people dance around. this is new york. this is the publishing industry and as you know, it is a little left-leaning shall we say and we are kind of funny others died or at least that is the perception. so you know, if people want to talk to us, they might want to talk in a little hideaway in the corners of one or, not out in the open public. >> joseph farah, wmd.com is the website. great to see you. >> always great to see you. >> up next on booktv, "after
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words". this week, veterans day scores on it, trant ibanez latest book, "neil armstrong: a life of flight." and at the nbc news man is selling author examines the life of the first man to walk on the moon on the 45th anniversary of disneyland in. the program is about an hour. >> hi, i am michael neufeld dynamic curator at the air and space museum and i'm here to talk to trant live, author of "neil armstrong: a life of flight," a new biography of neil armstrong. i am familiar with trant heaven because he was the voice on the radio in a signed tv between my ears in the space pass in an 50 so it is to type to you. why did you decide to write this book? >> well, neil and i talked about it for 20 years because we had a pretty close friends for a half a century.
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i did a book with alan shepard called a shot, did really well and was on your times bestseller list. and he did the introduction of that. we talked because he didn't want a biography. he wanted a story of his life for flight. he felt anything he did, any of the other astronauts could do, especially jim lovell lurching to order staffers that he wanted them to get equal credit. he was that type of guy. he never thought of himself as being anything special. he wanted this wary of flight told. when he passed away, we had dirty work mancha are out and i decided to go ahead and do the flight because people looked at and suddenly they made sense. i looked around and all the people from apollo, practically all of them are gone. we have to realize over half the
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people weren't even here when he walked on the moon. anyone less than 45 years old because the 45th anniversary is coming up next week. so anyway, they were saying to me, if you don't do it, who is going to do with? so we need neil story. jim lovell calls it a great book and not to neil's legacy. so we did our best to try to get this done for the hiss jury. we've had a heavy library sale, event they'll come so that is great. we're trying to get neil story in the library for history and hopefully we've taken a shot on it and with some a little good. >> there was one earlier biography and that is to sampson's first man. >> that is his official biography. you know, he's time to do that and this is not a biography. it is a re-creation of his torii hunter observation and research
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generally referred to us at the dodge. so that is what it is. i hate biographies here that i wanted biographies. >> you've done to better better sort of cause i, somewhere between biography and autobiography. the other one was shepard the. >> is the other one i talked about. neil introduced it. >> in terms of how you started this book, was it because you had a friendship with neil armstrong going back a long time and when did you meet him? >> i met him in 1962 when he came in with the second group of astronauts. but there was a couple personal things in 1964. he lost a young girl, karen and she died on the rain tumor at the age of two and it was really difficult for neil. i lost a young son and one morning he came into howard
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johnson cocoa beach in 1964 and i was in there talking. my wife was still in the hospital and he looked at me and he says, who shot your dog? and i told him, i said well i had a little tragedy and told him about it and he and i got to talking about it. he didn't talk much. most people didn't even know he had a daughter, but alone that he luster. that was while he was flying the x 15 out of edwards, which is now named after neil armstrong. neil armstrong research center. so anyway, we just got to a point that we were trusted friends is what i would like to say. some people want to say you reveals best friend. i wasn't neil's best friend. i don't out who in the heck is this run was. but we were friends and were trusted friend and we were together. the challenger blew up company was called by reagan to be the vice chairman to do the
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investigation and i broke it story two days later on the tom brokaw show in the first person to call me when i got off the air was neil and he said what do you know that you didn't tell brokaw? i said i told brokaw everything. anyway, we worked together on that in a couple of times we were going to get started on this book and never did come even though we did other stories together in there is a couple of their offers by publishers in which neil thought about in turn down. as they say, we talked about doing this off and on. somebody has to do it. you know, i wanted to take a whack at it, so hopefully it turned out okay. >> so, tell me a little bit about the background of the meeting him because you are a correspondent at the cape, a reporter for an ac for a lot of years. when did you start there? been met and i met him, he was one of the gemini nine. i will tell you, the press, our
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impression was he was sort of like a wet link it. he stayed there, didn't say much, he was not outgoing. so i just knew him. like i eat you and we talk and i know you. but it was nothing special until that morning and howard johnson where we talked about losing two children and then occurred. >> i would like to give the viewers just a little background. you started when? >> i started for nbc news on july 21, 1958 and i had been covering the launches in april 58. so you know, i was a veteran when alan shepard flew in 1961. i didn't set out to do it, but i wound up covering every flight by american astronaut. there's been 166 of them and i was fortunate enough if they look on the side cover of the
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book, you'll see a picture of me on air when neil made the step on them to and you can see neil across mission control in the big television screen stepping off onto the surface of the moon. by then i knew him pretty well and i knew some things. he told me some things in confidence that are not in my book. even that was passed on, i will not break that confidence because we had her working at her unit that being a reporter generally i reporter generally i say to you and you and i sit down and talk and the discussion is not off the record, then everything is up in. but with neil, you have that friendship they are cheaper attack than we were so many things together. so before i would use anything, i would say hey, i want to use sms and he was a go-ahead and we never had a situation where that tape plays any fully trusted me and he told me things that i say i can't talk about even today, but i was lucky that i got a lot
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of reports from kneeled behind the scenes and when he was investigating the challenger accident at the vice chairman, he and i talked a couple times a week and i kept in the to date on what i have no. nobody knew that. we were together. but he came, for example, and ec decided to give me a dinner after being with them 50 years. they said you can invite anybody because the wheels are coming down from an ecm new york to be here for the dinner. finally they call it that you can invite three astronaut. i said okay, so i invited neil and john glenn. john glenn and neil went through jungle training together and not as further friendships are at it, even though they were from the same day. so alan shepard was dead, so i couldn't invite alan shepard, so
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invited edgar mitchell who walked on the moon and all three of them came in i was very about it because neil didn't go anywhere. he and john earlier that year asked to become a cleveland and key know what they call the five club in base. their fate he had and they had all 19 astronauts from ohio and we just television and i did the keynote. we just had a great time. so we had a great time and there's a picture in the beginning of the introduction of my wife jo at myself in ill fitting that the table laughing. john glenn was doing standup comedy. and anyway, that was sort of the way things went. i never did anything on the air without saying hey i want to do this and he says he now, though. >> and now is the on for at least after 1964. before that time, he was just one of nine and he was kind of
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anonymous to most people. of course, he was terribly shy is maybe too strong, the cert a very reserved in private. >> he was a very private person and he with everything out. if you asked any question, he would think it through before you and eric, to make sure he didn't give you an answer that wasn't true that he would have to change later. but he was called the quickest pilot that ever lived when he was flying and the lowest person ever to win her year. >> so you probably need the mercury astronaut very well at the time of the gemini nine came on board. >> yeah, because those guys in the press corps and you say the astronauts, that's who you meant. there were no others. >> were there any other of them wrote in the transition of integrating nine new guys in to an already well as published proud group?
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>> there are several that we got a great chap. name that involves neil and tom stafford with the innkeeper down there. these guys, actually the seven were sorted standoffish to the nine, like you've got to earn your way into the club. so henry says you know what you guys need to do? need to throw a dinner for us. make it black-tie and show them respect and all this beauty said i'll put it together. anyway, the first words that came out of his mouth was who's going to pay for this? he says the hotel will pay for it because tom went to the naval academy on scholarship even though he went in the air force and became a three-star general, he retired afterwards. if his mother had to borrow -- his father was dead in his mother had to fire the money to buy the bus ticket to send him to fulfill his scholarship to a
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nap list and he was very tight with money. as one of the jokes that the neil said was the last time staffer picked up a check, he said she was hitchhiking in prague. you know ,-com,-com ma so that was another one of those. but they got together on this dinner and they cut to the chase on it. they brought in the guys with all of the white tie, the best wines they brought in. when they sat down for dinner, you know, they brought it out and it was supposed to be fried eel, you know, with au gratin potatoes. well what it was came out was fried cardboard and the potatoes were, you know, stinking and the salad had been sitting in the sun all day. well, it was a real thought you would know big laugh. after that they were pretty well together. >> this got you culture --
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>> yes, that's the pilot. the pilots always did that. >> practical jokes were important. >> in the turtle club. or club. are you old enough to remember the turtle club? >> i was just reading about it the other day. feedback are you a turbo? you had to answer. >> if you didn't come you had to buy everybody a drink, no matter if the priest was standing there or not. >> saul, why was he chosen as one of the nine? are the qualities he had and what was his wraparound? >> neolithic fighter fly it in the korean war and became that. he had gone in on this program that they had a training a program i forget the name of the admiral in all that it was named after, but he had got a scholarship to it and what they were to do was part of the rotc,
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naval rotc program. that is a special program. it's in the book. we got it right in the book. but anyway, he was supposed to spend two years at purdue and then he was to go four years training and all of a sudden and from acting in the second two years at purdue and scan his wings and his bars. well, after he had in there about two years, they years, the navy needed pilots so they pulled some of the guys out in some time to fight train in pensacola at the mouth the navy. so he actually went over as a fighter pilot on the fx, dill and midshipmen. he hadn't cut aspires to, but he had his wings. he was one of the few that flew in combat. it was like he had been in combat two or three months before he got his and bar. so on september 3rd, 1951, he was born august 5th, 30.
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so he was whenever the fifth is from 21. he was that much over his 21st birth day. they went on a rant to knock out placements that bridges the knowledge that and when they went down for the second pass on this bridge, he released his last baughman everything looks good. he was flying the wing of a church on carpet or and he was a division lead and neil came up about 500 feet off the ground. here is this anti-aircraft cable stretch from not too not. it took off half of this right wing and he had to fight to keep it going and he used trim any when about 300 knots. he went about 20 feet off the ground and came back up and he told me, you do want to be stealing 350 knots 23 feet off the ground. but he managed to nurse it back
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up. but he couldn't land on the carrier because he couldn't slow it down enough without rolling. so they figured they couldn't get it under 170 knots. said john carpenter's date within the nurse did not do what they call d. three, which was then being a core base in korea and he ejected just if they win out over this theme came down and landed there. although lucky was picked up by one of the flight added back. but when the navy put out that story, the navy public affairs put out that he had a cable, a guide wire is what they put out to a power pole. and it took about three feet of this wingtip and he kept trying to get that changed. if neil didn't work too hard at it because he didn't talk that much to begin when. when he did the stars and
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stripes did a story on it and so he just said to me that night at dinner i brought it up and i said about three feet and he's sitting at the table and he said six to eight feet. he said the app. was an anti-aircraft cable. so that night we were talking about that and a few other things that happen on the landing that we did know about because he and i closed the bar together. so anyway he told me i would like to have that now, the facts known on that. so i sent this book we've been talking about, i said that would be obviously the opening shot to her. we are talking about your life the flight. we are not talking about your whole life. we are talking about your life for flight. i said that would be the perfect opening chapter. so i sat down and wrote it, e-mailed it to neil.
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he checked it, liked it. i said that they're opening chapter. but i could never quite bring him to the computer because the man just couldn't brag on himself. he just couldn't do it. he couldn't bring himself to the point. he found that looked at me and said jay, you're one of us. you've covered every mission. he says you go ahead and do it. do it on your round. he says you're a pilot. i said i couldn't even carry your lunch by. when he passed on unexpectedly, we decided to go ahead. >> so you talk to them for a while. i have to bring this up. i hear the family was upset with the initial advertising of the book that it was the authorized biography. >> no, no, no. what happened with you are familiar with what the allies tire. and for people who are not
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familiar, this is the rustad edition of the book where you can go pick out all of, you know, you can pick out all the mistakes. i wrote nothing for the jacket of the book. well come you got people at publishers like they were priced in new york and they would just write the most grandiose a mistake at the guys. so i think they wrote that think they wrote that i was neil's best friend anyways unauthorized autobiography. i don't remember exactly, but it was all wrong. i jumped on immediately and i was seized in really the taft law firm and she is neil's attorney and she is an attorney for the trust and his estate and she is also carol, his widow's attorney. so i explained all of that in center to him and all of that. they were wonderful family, but
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they are like neil. they are very private people. one of the reasons i don't do autobiographies are want to do a biography is because any person who has had any to like market came in truman capote and these people were my heroes and help me with what little i know. they said never do a biography because the family will drive you absolutely nuts. they will take over every line, so don't do it. don't get me wrong. nobody in neil's family -- what i did as a courtesy i sent you and say thank carol the first three chap juries that they cut the fat end of his maverick biography from the beginning. so anyway, i offered her. i said you may have been a part of the book you wish. if you'd like to join me in it or anything like that. i think said the same thing
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terrific in the same consumer. they said no they didn't want to. i don't know if they really thought how good of a chance i had acted in the substantial publisher i have. but it doesn't matter because i've been sending them everything and any question they would not and i mark all about were sent me an e-mail saying he resented the line where i said we cut about this for 22 years. i said we can change that, but i'll go back and i said look, 1992, your father wrote for that shot, the introduction paid by michael reagan of the publishing. he was going to be on the whole book, but at the time he was going through the divorce from janet and i think he just didn't want to do it at bedtime.
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i like to send you at least to the introduction. because we met with michael reagan in atlanta. and so, he did that we talked about this other book. we were offered to other things. if you look at everything we did, plus stories we get together and everything over a course of 20 years, there is a 20 year run of events where we were physically talking about it still there are people living in better witnesses to this. i have stacks e-mail that i still had our conversations between neil and died. so there is no question about it. but i sent mark, it's not necessary. >> that is not the jacket flap copy now. >> i think they still have it. i don't know. but anyway, we are going to take
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that off. >> it's interesting you don't dig for it is a biography, but i noticed this choice you need to only do one korea story and pretty much moved on rather than to boyhood and so forth. >> the biography would've done that. but i wasn't that interested. i could care less because what we wanted to do was we wanted to do advanced light. he was so extraordinary and this should be done and i hope that's what we have done. see, a reportage as you know, if the creation, a writ recreation of an event based on direct observation, which i was there for all of it and talks to neil for all of that, along with euro research and documentation. that is a reportage. another example of course was truman capote's first but. he went out there.
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and cold. he went out there. he wasn't there to witness it, but he went out there and interviewed all the people got to know the two killers and he was with them throughout the whole process before they were heading. so that was his reportage i read harper lee's "to kill a mockingbird" is facing on her life. a smart young guy between -- >> their childhood friends. >> and another post tennessee williams pre-card and desire not to place with where he was in new orleans and so, this is a technique and it's what you do, where you are just re-creating something you've been a part of been a witness to. >> so you are comfortable basically writing dialogue.
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as an historian, i am a little more cautious about writing a conversation at a very sound source. you see it more as a recreation. >> i am re-creating. the fact i was there with most of the dialogue, for extent though, what i did with neil is trying to get everything absolutely correct. what i did is there is, as you know, a transcript of every word spoken by him on the apollo 11 mission. now let me put a little caveat in here. there's also back channels where they talk to flight directors and what not that it doesn't go on this. now, he also told me this direct , the stuff that i have been there. i've got a quoted as closely as i can get it where i quote him
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i've got other guys like neil told me this or that during conversations with a top about him being the commander of apollo 11. you see, i have those. i have transcripts where he has given them to me. he and i talked about it and as i say, he told me, were exhumed will, they saw, when they were going out on apollo about the comment they look back and all three members a flashy light and it appeared like it was following him and he was a flashing light would flash, go away and come back. so neil nodded assent demand made and he did think it was aliens or anything affiliate that. but by then mike got a little carried away with it. when they got back into it, the quarantine at houston, neil called me and he says, you got
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any name? we've got stuff for one another. he said if you got anything? i've aes. i was a very sent to dave spy satellite of our national assets and it had rolled over in died, that he was still tumbling in our day. every time i would go over if the sun was exact way, you would get the flash. so i knew exactly what it was and i told him and he told them, let's get off of it. we are sounding like some hollywood guy here trying to make an alien movie. >> was certain i feel at the eso the astronaut which there are way too many already. the ticket back to the flight story, or korea, the next big thing is the x 15. maybe you can tell the viewers a
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little bit about his experience. >> would yell cut out and came back and finished his engineering degree and everything at purdue. when he got out, he wanted to go to the naca and because that was civilian station if that was doing exploration of light, he wanted to be a research test pilot. that's what he wanted and he wanted to be at edward. so he applied, but they liked his record and they liked his drive, that they didn't have an opening at edwards. so they had an opening at the research center in cleveland. said they got neil to apply input data. so he went out there and all he had was that pad two, which was the dual p. 51 nsc 47, which i forget what the navy called it. and so, as soon as that
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happened, he goes out to edward and he gave nsa civilian and he flew everything out there. he did everything they told him to do. copilot, the whole nine yards. he did everything he was supposed to. then he came outstanding in its x 15 flights. for people who don't know what that was, that was a rocket and it could take you to the edge of space. the highest i think he ever went was 37 not all miles and that was what we call the pasadena flyover because he skipped off the top of the atmosphere and he came back and when he came back over base, he was supposed to be in position and come down and land and he was out 100,000. so he went down and he was thinking he was almost at the rose bowl, but he didn't quite get the rose bowl.
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now they are taking bets on whether or not he's going to make it back in. i was right after his little girl status. i think that might have affected a little bit. but he had absolute control of what he was doing. and then, because chris kraft, for example, who is the chief flight director of announced that the mercury program, he was with neil out there at the research group e. for nasa. so is bob gilbert. so they knew neil and they all felt neil was a step up at the air force and the navy guys. i think u.s., to do. he would never tell you he thought he was. so they wanted him. they wanted him to mercury. they were disappointed he didn't apply for mercury. but he is thinking his next promotion he had every to believe he would be chief test pilot of the x 15. when he saw shepard go up and of
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course her work area and went before that, he realized if i'm going to go higher in space it's going to be on top of a rocket. when he came around, he did and he was glad to see it and they brought them in. >> in the eisenhower specified therapy military test pilot. i'm not sure if he was given an opportunity to apply. >> no, he credits. you know, they did so much stuff behind the scenes. and you had so much speculation and it was so hard to cut through that and for expand will people came up and said the reason alan shepard was select it to be the first in space was because he was navy and john f. kennedy was navy. >> no. see this is the type of stuff you get going and neil, you
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know, he was against it totally adds one of the reasons why he steered away from the press in general. he didn't hate the press. he just preferred not to talk to them. so anyway, so much of that stuff going on and he was building quite a reputation for himself a situation where he had the other guy brought b-29. and they wanted him. they were so glad to see he applied. and left the program and ran into an asset and he was, to. the next-door neighbor with at why it was to watkins base and he died the apollo fire. >> so that was a very strong group. i've heard other astronaut say they thought nine was strongest group of test pilots.
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even stronger than the mercury in terms of background. >> they were better qualified good ui right. plus the fact that they were in position to do apollo. and john and all of them in there. so anyway, neil westcott littered like cream there to administer the guys were in charge. when he flew his turn came to slide the gemini eight and they lost the gemini eight and they not only flew the first talking in space, but then he flew the first emergency return space. the way he had to handle that because he was on the other side of her, out of contact with mission control and that is one of the reasons he and i talk so often and he thought what we
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should be doing today is basis we should be fine at any permits. we have it and out of earth orbit for 32 years. we have a lot of stuff going on today of commercial space and all of that, which is great in itself. this is like twa and eastern airlines. they are tonight different that we have it in doing. you got to get out the next lawyer and the biggest problem we've got to go beyond the earth is cto at the radiation because once we are out of the protection of the magnetosphere from the radiation, we've got to learn how to deal with it. people say why don't we go to mars? we don't know how to go to mars. it's just that the bull. and if we did come up with the radiation may be exposed to, they would be babbling when they got there. you simply can't do it. he got to come up with something that protects you. neil felt like let's do it in
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greece, first, don't give any further away than three seconds communication with mission control in three days you can get back to earth. when you learn how to live in space and that is on the other way past the move, when you can live out there, when you know what you're doing and you comply absolutely safe, go to the next step. this will be pointed out in the book and this is what he so we should be doing that we read enough about it and just enough program and that should be. meanwhile, everybody's talking about that meeting appear about google getting in and bury us in getting in and everything like this. that is fine. but what they are doing has been done for 40 years. and so they are doing commercial and if they can put up satellites cheaper, that is fine. but if we want to build amistad
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pio of knowledge, if we want to build on that, we've got to go out and ask for. we've got to go beyond space station. we've got to do that. neil wanted us to be on a program where we could do that. >> i want to return to that at the end. i did want you to perhaps just tell the viewers a bit. if people know anything, they no apollo 11 and we've got to get to that. tell them about the gemini eight story because of the switch or not. >> you know, gemini was a bridge between her korean apollo and also the first spacecraft you could change or with. with mercury all they did was put in orbit and what's it worth it had attitude control chat position their attitude, but they couldn't do anything else. but gemini, they could fire a larger thrust of rocket and
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change their orbital path and rendezvous with talk with one another and techniques they had to have to go to the new. well, they tried a cup listing and it didn't work and they last a couple of the target rocket they were going for. so it came to heal when he flew with dave scott. he flew gemini eight. they got up in a part is rendezvous. he had a work ethic that you wouldn't leave. he worked every way he cuts a deal to catch this target talk with it. nobody had done that. it was a big thing. so it came off like clockwork for neil and we go to bed and good night and they are going to go to their sleep. and everybody is feeling wonderful. they go out of contact with mission control at the mayor over china on the other side of earth and all the sadness
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spacecraft starts spinning and he brings it to neil's attention. first he thinks that is his side, so he checked his and his were showing them in a day. so they started fighting this. so immediately suspect they would not follow. so anyway, the speech kept getting greater and greater and it got to the point they were almost like 400 revolutions a minute and they were all about ready to pass out. so neil had to make that vision to get off of that at jena where they are going to pass out and they are dead. so he made it and in order to get enough rocket power to get off of that spinning at jena, he had to fire the a section of his return rockets. he had two sections of return rockets for reentry.
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they had ebay. so he fired a big, got it under control and i'm not private. as soon as day on talk, they thought that did. they started spinning again. so then he realized he was gemini eight i'm a cat turning off and they got down upon the culprit. and i think it sticks in my mind. it was thruster number eight. so anyway, they had to leave back, get it under control and money just bleated half of its field to get it under control. then the rules call for them to land on the next opportunity. well, the next opportunity was in the middle of pacific, 400 miles south of okinawa. they had to come in over china all by them of and which they did, you know, because they got through tracking station and talk to mission control a couple
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of times. but they were saying they were were saying they were sent out. they said everything's ready and then we lost in june hear from them until the recovery plan was over the fully hegemony aid over the water. be back when you were sitting in should control it reporter, you didn't know it had been after retro fire they were just off the radar. >> sure. first thing we got one of the tracking planes got close enough through the floating gemini eight depicts a basic know for neil and he said everything was well i'm bored. >> you to float in the ocean. >> assigned district of your little trouble here. >> you assert me the first american space mission to be terminated and cut short because of emergency in flight. >> a decision was made strictly by the astronaut on board because they didn't have that much contact with russian
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control and they were immediately criticize by second-guessers. when chris craft an belarus hotmail was just having trouble with the controller. as soon as they found out they had an actual open thruster, they said we would've done the same thing he did. he did exactly what we would've done. we would have done anything any different. again, they were very impressed with. when he got in line and started training in this vehicle to land on the moon, a lot of the guys didn't want to fly it because it was so tough. just as i don't want to learn how to plan than 200 feet above the surface. >> describe this crazy machine. >> they call it a flying bed stead because that's what mike for landing patch and they had these thrusters.
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first of all they had a big turbofans rocket engine in the center and this would fly it take them off of the earth is when they got pretty emulate the landing, they would use just enough of the rocket engine that would control and take care of five, six of the gravity and 16, which is what they have on the mid-and then they would fly. yet they still had the wind factor. they couldn't get away from the wind factor. they would fly down using the same thrusters and everything, c. neil was first in line to fly. he was doing most of the fine in all of this and one day he was out there and i forget which number, but he was flying up in the wind was a little too tough that day. they went ahead and did it
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anyways and he lost all control of everything. so he was like 100 feet and three seconds off the ground. but that has never been nailed down. i went back and i got to the guys that were actually there, i got the transcript of what was said. i got it and it's in the book. never before had that been found. but i talked to the guy who was in charge of it and some people had speculated that he was a split-second off the ground he would've been killed. he was 2.84 seconds, almost three seconds off before he crashed. but that is real close. when it rolled over and he had no control, he knew he had to eject. so he eject it and came down in saved everything, saved his life and the whole nine yards. his ability to react under certain dance that that was
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another feather in his cab to be the first to land on the moon. in fact, chris craft and robert hildreth didn't want him to practice anymore. neal insisted that they should. when he landed on the moon, he had 61 flight and he told me, he says, it was easier landy eagle on the moon then it is fine this trainer. i'm so, anyway, all of that practice and research that he put in it really paid off for him because when they were coming down, it turned out the original target was a crater the size of a football field. so he had to actually fly over this or that the moon, 100 feet or so off. he was running out of gas, trying to find a smooth place to sit down. when they spotted this, he got
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down below 50 feet. in his own mind he had calculated that as long as he had below 50 feet, if you are not a gas that was all right because under one sixth gravity, it was settled down and not destroy itself in the right position he could take off again. so u.s. mac turned about it. when he did touch down the best calculations they been able to, with a 162nd when he sat down. >> it was a close landing. closest of any in apollo. so, why was he chosen as the commander again? one of the things about him is his first assignment was a backup commander and so he never had to be the second pilot ever. he was always commander whatever he was. obviously you've given some of the reasons. the chief astronaut and chris craft, the chief test pilot
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worked with him earlier in california. there is a lot of speculation going around that they wanted a civilian. it had nothing to do with it because if neil hadn't made it, the comeback would've been the next one, the apollo 12. they would have learned more nixon called meola says now, i want you to know that if you have to abort, you would get another chance to land on the moon. i don't want you taking chances to land because you think it your only chance. neil told me he made the same promise to the other guys later down, to do. neil also a start enough to know after he landed on the moon that was it. he wasn't going to get is a
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national hero because that is what kennedy did to john lennon. john glenn after he for the first orbital flight or curry would've never gotten a chance to fly because kennedy told nasa he is a national hero and you don't risk his life. besides, lan and kennedy became pretty good rents. >> yeah, so it was obviously a great skill in being picked and also a bit of luck with the mission's lineup in order that he would become commander. >> that is right. what you see, the let played out that when they landed, 11 west to make the first landing. so neil got that one of commander. they talk about it during the apollo eight. they talked about it in mission control because they are too framed or admin, backup commander.
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so they talked about it and, you know, he asked about the crew. i called the crew of the boat amidst its because they weren't here drinking buddies. they were from different backgrounds. as neil said, i wasn't looking for buddies to drink with. i was looking for the best guys out there. i thought there's nobody better than jim lovell and mike collins and he says his phd at everything, he made the boys happy in another little thing like that. a lot of speculation written about assaulters was so mad because he first was out on the moon. he didn't take one picture neil armstrong on the moon. well, when not started speculating, i asked neil in the what are they talking about what i had a camera. he said i've had to put it the year of it. he said i gave as the camera or
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lack a few minutes before he got back on board. he took one of the vote in the rocks of not what it is if you look right there. that picture on the cover of the book is 10 loading rocks and i was by buzz aldrin. you know, in number or two down the depressed now in a better. that's just the way it was. >> i thought he had a chest on an -- >> now, neil jaime. if neil passed to them. he was setting in a period he had to take it off and give it to neil and then let's give it back to him. later on i you are correct. i have to go back and recheck it, but later on both of them had cameras because they had moonwalks plus the fact they also some of them did twice. >> i know there's been a lot of
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discussion about whether it's presented and displaced in neil going out first. neil you say didn't think there was much to this? >> no. what happened was guys wanted them to talk to the flight crew and the group was determining who should go out first. it would've been physically impossible because he would've had to come over neil to go out. they made sand and for him to be the last back in. but the reasoning on it was serious and full. it was the lunar module sitting on the moon. so that's had to monitor all of these systems. of course the commander could fly those, but like the command
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ship and the lunar module, they were first in line on the system and everything was working fine. they didn't know you kids they were to working with how these nsa with subtle malt is. this was a lot of there can turn. buses plying him like a pianist to get everything settled. it worked out better than anticipated because they told us a big lie. they said when they first landed, we look at them if or our best and leap. i said you are going on that way and a touchdown on the first place other than earth you want to get on that moon is finished you can grab at least a handful of dirt to show you where they are. and when i told neil that, neil laughed at europe's is a riot. >> up to.
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is largely a planning rues more or less. >> it was to keep the press thinking that was what they were doing instead of the press speculating on well they got problems here msn not been playing up these stories. so that is why they use that roush. in fact, i did a story on that when he told me what you do know about the moonwalks a maoist in 2009, one of the two. we put it on msnbc.com. 2 million hit. still a record. of course today, with so many websites out there, you would never do that again. but it is still a record. it is a record because it came back and read the story we did, got up there because we had other things too. >> we are down to four minutes. i do have to this question which
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is how which is how did he deal with his name? obvious that some people thought it was better armstrong went out because they might have dealt with it better. in any craze that was a hard day with his personality to be at peace for the most famous person on earth. >> he thought of things, his first malady was he was totally dedicated. his family knew what he did and they supported him. family was very very import. he was trusted down the line to be the father that he was. but he went out in blue d. x 15 mission shortly after they buried caring man and janet ayatollah, i don't know this for a fact, that janet reeves in sudan. but i am the same type of person. i don't know about you. if i sent them to do, a job to
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do and i lose a family member, i don't need to sit around and grieve for two or three weeks. that is sort of the way he was getting back on the job and taking care of you because he was devoted and he wanted to make sure he got everything it right. don't riot about what you can do. show them what you can do. it was this type of workout set that they were so familiar with it felt like he was the guy for the job. let's say he had to board landing. they had a great guy, pete conrad right behind him because they would have learned that much more. the only real problem going down with a 1201 and 1203, which was a computer. when m.i.t. designed their computers, they had two systems.
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they had the emergency and primary. said they said you can only run one. they said if i have to switch from primary. he's got to know where we are at it we've got two from both. i was executive overload and it turned them called the 11th coming out. they read what it was they went ahead and went in and did. >> that he was a very with being famous out her words. he tried various things. u.s. as you mentioned earlier on the challenger investigation. >> that he was happy on a dairy farm. he was a small town, 6000 people farm boy. that is one of the reasons i became a friend with him. john glenn was the same way. the three of us were all
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friends. kind of close together tempting. but we weren't here junking buddies. a lot of times neil and i would wind up and he would call me a wary when a cocoa beach when he was in town. do it have a couple drinks and that they are talk about the things that generally small town will, where mike collins was the metropolitan guy there and he couldn't believe people could live on the farm. >> it was very nice talking to you if you enjoyed hearing stories about neil armstrong. >> thank you. i'll tell you, people should know who you are as curator for it to smithsonian. it's been a real privilege and thank you were interviewing me. >> thank you interview.
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